August 18th, 2003


Interview, with purplerabbits

1. If you could create a teleport gate between your house and one other place, where would it be? Would you let anyone else use it?

Am I allowed to install the gate between London and Tokyo and run it as a business? No? OK...

Is the gate equipment at my end small enough to pack and have it airfreighted from time to time? If so I'd plant the destination in central London, say outside the RFH. I'd also start a software and services business in London and ask all my friends if they'd like to work there. I'd then move my home to Athens. When bored with Athens I'd move to Paris, San Francisco, Barcelona, Tokyo, Amsterdam, New York, Montreal, Mexico City, Rome, Bangkok, Copenhagen, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Kyoto...

Well, OK, if I have to have a fixed link for personal use I guess I'd open a gate to San Francisco, somewhere in the Castro area. Second choice would be Kyoto, by the river near the old Geisha district.

Friends would be welcome to use the gate, naturally.

2. When was the last time you got really, really angry?

The answer is private, but for close friends it will be easy to guess (time frame is within the last year).

3. Would you try being female, given a chance?

YES! Immediately! The first thing I'd do is masturbate, and the 10th would be to find an attractive man and get a fuck.

If all other things were equal, like I had a similar level of attractiveness (in a proportionately smaller body), intelligence, wealth, etc. I'd immediately go and become a porn star, or something similar, for a few years while I'm young enough to enjoy the experience. I'd then settle into being an ordinary hedonist. I'd probably become a feminist academic and a champion of women being empowered for pleasure. I wouldn't particularly want to change back from this.

All other things NOT being equal, if I had to draw lots to become a random woman of my own race, nationality, social class etc. then I think I'd still say yes, but after some sober thought. Most likely, it would not be a fairy-tale experience. I might make a good hedonist again, but if it doesn't work out I'd still take the switch and settle for being the academic. If it was a temporary switch I might prefer to change back, but if not that would be OK too.

If I had to become a random woman or a random man out of the population of the Earth, I'd want to be the man.

4. Would you want to live forever? If so what apparent age would you like to be?

Yes, although it would get boring after all the stars have blown up and everyone else is dead. If you mean "within reason", then still yes, definitely. I'd like to be apparently around 30, so that people both take me seriously and want to sleep with me.

If I became immortal, I would first waste a lot of time like I do now but I'd be relaxed about it! Then it would dawn on me that I should spend a lot of time with friends urgently, unless they're immortal too. Dying friends would be a downside, but it would bring a sort of pleasant bitterness to life.

I'd get a less demanding job and enjoy myself for the first 10-15 years, reasoning that I can always make money later if I need to. Then I'd get fed up of having no money and work hard for 10-15 years, and the cycle would alternate. In-between I might accumulate several PhDs. This would go on for a century or so.

I'd probably set up some long term project to make the world better, sort of like the time machine "gently work on the past" trick but without the time machine. If anything, arguing with people over several centuries ought to yield some results. After that, I don't know, I'd go travelling somewhere...

5. What geek toy would you most like to own? (It doesn't have to exist yet.)

I want wireless unmetered internet in my head. I want a discreet implant that works anywhere where you might expect a phone to work and delivers web, email, IRC, ping, and the upcoming "semantic web" if that works. The interface would have to be something you can use while walking, riding a train, etc. and also while lying in bed in the dark as if asleep. Ideally the content would be delivered directly as linguistic and semantic awareness, although a visual interface is OK (it would HAVE to block pop-up windows!). It also has to work without external charging or cables and last at least 10 years between upgrades.

I'm prepared to make a few compromises for this. I'd be happy with very modest bandwidth (a few kb/sec if it was available today). I'm happy for it to have a biological power source that makes me feel tired corresponding to the power it uses, assuming it's similar to a phone. I'd be prepared to lose something to control it, for example have my two little fingers rewired to move with the adjacent fingers and use the neural outputs of the little fingers for Grafitti-like input. If it has to use a visual interface, I'd be satisfied with something like 200x200 bright green dots overlaid on my visual field. It's OK if the control or readout is too distracting for use while driving or talking to people.

If I can't have that, I'd settle for a tablet computer that's A4 x 1cm x 1kg, survives being dropped from 2M onto concrete and then being stood on, and otherwise delivers the facilities of an ordinary laptop 15 years in the future.

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